Black Sheep Brewery calls in administrators amid ‘perfect storm’

Charlene Lyons

Masham-based Black Sheep Brewery intends to appoint administrators, the firm announced today, with chief executive Charlene Lyons blaming a ‘perfect storm’ of riding costs and the pandemic.

The move comes three weeks after the firm, which has struggled with rising costs in the wake of the pandemic, announced it was considering putting itself up for sale as it conducted a strategic review.

The brewery revealed last week that it had no expressions of interest in a merger or acquisition. Today it announced that its board intended to file notice to appoint Kristian Shuttleworth and Clare Boardman of Teneo Financial Advisory as administrators. Teneo were hired as  advisors for the strategic review.

Charlene Lyons, chief executive and executive chair of Black Sheep Brewery, said: “The directors have done their utmost to deliver new investment into the existing corporate structure. This has not been possible, but we are progressing with our discussions around a sale of the business.

“Black Sheep Brewery has great products, a compelling brand and is supported by a dedicated team of people who are capable of delivering great results for the business in a different structure. We are focused on achieving continuity of the business and employment and thank everyone for their support so far. We have taken the decision to protect the business and its creditors, during this period, by filing a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

“The business has been hit very hard by the pandemic and the sudden rise in all costs. Covid loans were useful but, in the end, could not sufficiently compensate for reduced cash flow in the long term. It has been the perfect storm, but the team are confident that with a new structure Black Sheep will thrive and grow as the team set course in a new direction.”

The firm’s most recent accounts, covering the year to March 2022, show losses of £1m as distribution costs jumped nearly £750.000.

The award-winning brewery was founded by Paul Theakston in 1992 to champion independent brewing following the sale of T&R Theakstons to a national brewer.

In 2003 Simon Theakston and his brothers led a buy back, bringing the brewery back into family control.